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24 Jun 2020

Sardines netted at Umgababa Beach

Zainul Dawood (Daily News) Picture: Sardines netted at Umgababa Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Wednesday. Picture by Brahmanand Outar

Sardines netted at Umgababa Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Wednesday. Picture by Brahmanand Outar

Sardines netted at Umgababa Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Wednesday. Picture by Brahmanand Outar

Durban – After a slow start to the day, two nettings of sardines took place at Umgababa Beach on Wednesday.  Seasoned netter Brahmanand Tony Outar said it was another awesome day for netters at the beach on Wednesday afternoon. He said local residents flocked to the beach to help themselves to some of the fish caught in the nets.

Three sharks were also brought ashore in the nets and were released safely.

“Most of the sardines are out deep. We took our chances at Umgababa beach. A beautiful net of about 250 crates. The second net also brought in a huge haul. Lots of hard work,” he said.

Seasoned netter Brahmanand Outar. Picture supplied

Umgababa Beach is a lovely unspoiled Blue Flag beach located in the small coastal town of Umgababa, roughly 36 km south of Durban.

KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Acting HOD: Operations, Greg Thompson said that sardine activity was accompanied by associated predators, including lots of big sharks seen close inshore.  Thompson reiterated that due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdown, all Shark Safety Gear was removed on March 24.

“We have not been given a date as to when the beaches will be opened. Only then will we plan the installation of shark safety gear,” he said.

According to the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, sardines are cold-water fish and are usually associated with areas of cold ocean upwelling, where deeper, cooler, nutrient-rich water currents surge to the surface when they strike shallow coastal areas.

Sardines are commonly found in enormous shoals on the west coasts of California, South America, Japan, Australia and, of course, southern Africa.

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Sardines netted at Umgababa Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast on Wednesday. Videos by Brahmanand Outar

Sardines live fast and die young. They grow rapidly to reach a length of just under 20cm and sexual maturity in two years, but rarely live longer than three years. In compensation, they are highly fecund, each female producing many thousands of eggs in her short lifespan. The main spawning grounds are on the Agulhas banks off the southern Cape coast, where the adults gather for a prolonged breeding season through spring and early summer. The eggs are simply released into the water, fertilised and left to drift off in the open ocean.

A benign ocean current carries most of the developing larvae westwards and northwards into the productive waters along the west coast.